To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is set to be released on Netflix Wednesday
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You — the much-anticipated sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before — will be released on Netflix February 12, just in time for Valentine’s Day. In the follow-up to the popular teen rom-com, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) is still torn between two boys, Peter (Noah Centineo) and John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher), but this time she’s actually dating one of them. Jenny Han, author of the books that inspired the movies, spoke with PEOPLE to dish on writing about first love and which of the two heartthrobs is more her type.
What was it like being involved in the production of the new movie?
It was really a crash course in film school. I got to be involved in every aspect, and probably most heavily worked with our costume designer. She was so generous with me and let me be really collaborative. I went kind of wild sending her links for clothes and I was buying all the hair accessories and that kind of thing. It was just so much fun being able to help tell the story in a visual way because I was coming to it with words but it’s a movie, it’s all about pictures. So as a storyteller, it’s exciting to have a different way to tell the story.
How have your longtime fans reacted to P.S. I Still Love You?
They’ve been so excited. The readers are so dear to me, close to my heart, and they are the people I think about first because I know how much it means to them. I’ve been working on these books since 2010, and so my priority has always been to serve as that ambassador of what I know the fans want and speaking on their behalf when it comes to giving my input for the film. Lana [Condor] is always saying “Thank you for sharing these book fans with me because they’re such nice people.” And they truly are.
You approach these first loves and teenage relationships with such respect. How does first love shape us?
I think part of why I like to write stories for and about young people is that I think firsts are so indelible, they just stay with you your whole life. I don’t think you ever forget the first time you fell in love with somebody. And if you haven’t had your heart broken yet, you haven’t experienced all the joy and the pain that comes with loving somebody, then it’s all the more sharp and fresh and raw. Talking about first love is a way to connect it, to share intimacy and feel close.
You’ve talked about the importance that this has had for your fans of color who are watching this. What impact does the film have for people who are seeing an Asian lead for the first time almost ever?
It’s always very moving for me when fans reach out to me and tell me how meaningful it was for them to see Lara Jean and her family on the screen. I think sometimes when there’s such a lack of that you don’t even realize fully until you actually see the hole that is there. To have something like this to own for themselves, to own this character and our story is really special. One of my highlights of the whole experience was Halloween when some young women had dressed up as Lara Jean. I felt like I just saw a lot of pride in their faces to have something that belonged to them.
How did you develop the characters of Peter and John Ambrose — and which is more your type?
I think that Peter is a genuinely good person. He just really wants to be liked and he has that insecurity inside of him, which is why he likes to be around people and the life of the party. He’s not the cookie cutter popular guy, who is just all about himself. With John, he is a more sensitive, probably more thoughtful and more interior kind of person the way that Lara Jean is, so they really connect on that level. I think they both offer her something really different, which I like. In high school, I would definitely be more of a John McLaren kind of person.
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You premieres on Netflix Feb. 12.